12-07-2015

Big Chill 5K Race Recap

The Big Chill 5K at Rutgers University is one of my favorite races of the year. You can find previous recaps here and here.

I love it because it is such a great cause. Race registration is an unwrapped toy for a child in need. Every year they collect thousands and thousands of toys. I think this year it was over 10,000! There were 9,000 registered runners and walkers as well.

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My dad and brother decided to join my mom and me this year. It was a great race!

We got there by 8 am to park, pick up our numbers, go to the bathroom, etc. I wanted to be in the starting corral by 8:30 am because I did not want to end up in the back. They have barriers on the road for about 100 meters or so, so if you don’t get in early, you have to walk all the way to the back and that’s where you start.

So because of this, we didn’t really warmup. I did lunges, squats, high knees, jumps, etc. in the starting area while we waited for the gun to go off. We also took a few pics :)

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At 9 am we were off. There are no chip times, it’s only gun time (unless you pay extra for the seeded corral), so I just wore my watch to get my own time. 

The course is great. The first mile is slightly downhill then flat, the second mile get tough with a few rolling hills, and the third mile is flat. I like to go out fast on the first mile because it is downhill. I know I’ll end up slowing down but I like that strategy for this particular race.

I didn’t really have any lofty goals. I wanted to get a sub-30 time and did not want to walk lol. I accomplished both! In the second mile, I contemplated walking (it’s always in the same spot too). I then told myself I’ll just slow down for 1 minute then speed up again, and that’s what I did.

In that final mile I tried to throw in some “surges” so pick up the pace a little bit. My fitbit said my heart rate was around 192 which is pretty much close to max. I tried to speed up as much as I could!

Since there are so many runners, you try to kick it in the last stretch but it’s hard because people are all around you. You can’t weave in and out in a tight space. So I did what I could and finished in 29:11. Average pace: 9:24 per mile. I’ll take it!

My dad finished in 27ish, my brother finished in 22:56, and my mom finished in 29:30ish. Here we are at the finish:

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Afterwards there are food and awards inside the College Ave. Gym. We went and got our bagels and cookies and took more photos :)

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My mom and I wore matching hats which actually got a ton of compliments lol. We were elves and my dad was Santa. We’ll be wearing them again next year!

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Overall a great day. Now time to start working on chipping away at that 5K time. Goal for the spring is anything below my PR (25:43). Let’s see what we can do!

Have you ran a holiday themed race? Any other races left for you in 2015? I have the Ted Corbitt 15K this weekend (yikes, so not prepared), anyone else running it?

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10-16-2015

Chicago Marathon 2015 Race Recap

Where to even begin?? My mom and I finished our third marathon together on Sunday and it was a truly great experience. Yes, the race did not go as planned, but Theodora reminded me in her recap post that we should never lose sight of the fact that running 26.2 is a feat in and of itself. I think runners beat themselves up over their times (I see it on my own XC team) and forget that the fact that we CAN run is most important. PS – this recap might be on the longer side!

We got into Chicago on Thursday and did our sightseeing Thursday and Friday. We were up at 5 am for our Thursday morning flight, so we were pretty tired when we got there but I wanted to see as much as possible.

Thursday we decided to go to Millenium Park and check out Cloud Gate/The Bean, then walked along Magnificent Mile, and then took a bus to Oak Street Beach to take a lakefront walk.

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It was a lot of walking, which is why we decided to do it Thursday since we had a few days until the race.

Friday we slept in, then woke up for a shake-out run on the lakeshore path (which I loved!!). Then headed to the expo to pick up our bibs. I am dumb and forgot my license in the hotel, so we got there, tried to check in, then had to leave to get my license and come back. I’m pretty sure the woman didn’t believe me when I initially walked up, because I was like “omg I forgot my license!! can I show you my credit card or ANYTHING??” (worth a shot), and she said no (obviously), so I said I would be back. When I came back she was like oh wow you actually DID forget your license?? So I am thinking she thought I was trying to pick up someone else’s bib or something…good to know that they take all that seriously! Here are a few pics from the daytime:

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It was cold and cloudy that day…it couldn’t stay like that for the race???

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startline

We did a lot of walking around the expo because I had to buy a few things. We decided to buy gels at the expo and I forgot to pack my hydration belt (rookie mistake lol), so I had to find something. I actually bought a Fitletic belt with just the loops for the gels AND their water bottle add-on and I actually really loved it! (I can’t find it on their website actually but here it is).

I wore my FlipBelt just to carry my phone (it is so light you don’t even feel it), then the Fitletic belt to hold my gels and the water. It did not feel heavy at all. I tried their other belts at their booth but they felt too big and bulky for me.

I also bought a pair of lightweight running sunglasses since it was going to be super sunny and I don’t own running glasses. The race director’s email recommended it to protect your eyes, so I got some. I know…”nothing new on race day” but I wanted to be safe.

Afterwards, we went back to drop off our stuff at the hotel and then head to Willis Tower. By this time it was around 6:45 PM. There was not much of a line since most people go during the day, but we got up there around 7:20. Then my only gripe about this entire trip happened…

We are waiting in line for the SkyDeck, which is actually just 3 tiny glass boxes basically, and each has a line. This group of probably 10 tourists are in there legit setting up a photo shoot. One would shine their flashlight on them while others took pictures. They would take a million pictures each, then switch with other people, do different poses, etc. No joke, they were in there for FIFTEEN MINUTES.

The people behind them in line were starting to get annoyed and finally a man went forward and said you need to leave you have been in there for 15 minutes it’s not fair. They continue taking photos. Then a person who works at SkyDeck came up to tell them 1-2 photos per person and then leave. He also says SkyDeck is closing in 10 minutes so everyone gets 1 photo. That really pissed people off because we had all been waiting patiently AND paid, yet now we are going to get kicked out?? By the time my mom and I got in there, we took literally 2 photos and he kicked us out. We didn’t even get to take in the sights. For me, that was a complete waste of $40. I tweeted at them with my thoughts but never heard back – oh well. Why isn’t there someone at each SkyDeck area monitoring how long people take????

ANYWAY, here’s a photo we did manage to get.

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Moving on…so Saturday we went to Target to pick up race essentials (post-run recovery drinks, breakfast, etc.), ate lunch at Potbelly’s, then just relaxed all day. We laid in bed and watched videos on FloTrack Pro. I love the Driven series! We watched the Kara Goucher and Alexa Efraimson episodes to get ourselves pumped up to run.

Race Day

We woke up at 5:30 am and since we had put together everything the night before, we were quickly ready to go. We made our oatmeal with PB and banana, and coffee, and called our Uber. Our hotel was 2 miles from the start so it was super easy to get there (Chicago South Loop Hotel). On our walk to the starting area I was trying to eat my oatmeal but the nerves had set in. I had to force myself to eat it and not gag lol. I get bad race day nervous – I feel this way even in little local 5K races!

We got ready before checking our bags: leg massage with Tiger Balm, inhaler, tying shoes, putting hair ribbon on (priorities).

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Oh that picture just reminded me I also bought a Sparkly Soul headband at the expo. Thick and did not budge at all during the race!

Once we checked our bags we hit the porta-a-potties one more time and did some strides. Corrals closed at 7:45, and we were in the opening for our corral at 7:43 yet the woman wouldn’t let us in. She was yelling at a bunch of runners CORRALS ARE CLOSED and this one women said IT’S NOT 7:45!! The woman would not let her in and told her she had to move back a corral. Well that runner did not care; she jumped the barrier and ran away. The woman legit tried to grab the runners arm to get her back…come on, it is not even 7:45 yet. I didn’t really care because I knew our goal pace was going to be slower than those in F corral anyway, so we went back to G.

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Our wave started at 8 am, and by 8:08 we had crossed the start. We were on our way!! We really had to hold back in that first mile – the crowds were crazy! In mile 2.5ish, I had to stop at the port-a-potties again really quick, and we lost 2 minutes, but we made it up by the 10K mile marker.

I don’t have splits because I did not wear my Garmin. I had read that Garmins lose their signal and gets all funky PLUS the night before, my Garmin refused to turn on. I was like, oh cool, bad omen. Of course, now it works perfectly fine. But I’m thinking it was a good thing, or I would have been so disappointed in the second half seeing my pace splits.

Anyway, so I don’t have splits but I’ll tell you what I remember.

We were on pace for a 4:48ish all through half way. I felt good still at that point. The first half was all shaded too so it was perfect. I started thinking about how I would write a blog post about how I PR-ed…don’t ever get too ahead of yourself in a marathon haha.

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At around mile 15 is where I started to feel tired and fading. The heat had started to play a role and the second half was not shaded at all, and as I have mentioned before I sweat A LOT. But I tried to not let it phase me. I kept repeating “Deal with it.” That was my mantra of choice.

I think around 16 or 17 I needed to put headphones in. I put on earbud in so I could still hear my mom if she needed to talk to me. When we got to areas with big crowds, that gave me a little boost and I’d try to pick it up a little.

By mile 18 I was like, nope, going to need to run/walk for now. I had a killer headache from neck tension I think. It’s weird because it’s not like my legs were tired or felt like lead, I think it was mainly dehydration issues. My face was now covered in salt. I made sure to take a salt pill every 30 minutes and stop at every water stop for 1-2 cups of water. I was taking GUs every 4 miles or so. I took my Honey Stinger waffle at 18 hoping it would give me a boost.

We got to mile 20 and my mom was like only 6 miles to go! At that point, I honestly thought to myself (didn’t say this to her though), “I don’t know if I can make it 6 more miles.” But I told myself to shut up and “grind it out.” That was my second mantra of the race. Honestly, if my mom weren’t with me and I didn’t want her to get mad at me (lol) I probably would have walked those last 6 miles.

At this point I knew 2 of our goals were out the window (anything below our PR, and 4:55). I was like ok, let’s try to do sub-5. But my pace just kept getting slower and slower. I was running for 3 minutes and walking for 1 minute. I would really try to pick it up in those 3 minutes. I stopped at a medical tent at one point to get advil for my headache that was not going away.

At mile 23, my mom was like come on! We can run these last 3 miles! I’m like, you can, I can’t. I told her to go on without me but she didn’t want to. I tried to continue picking it up when I could. I knew that now we were going to finish in over 5 hours.

Finally we hit one mile to go and I told her ok I will try to sprint for a 1 min (sprint…ha), and walk for 30 seconds. I would run as fast as I possibly could, recover for a bit, then repeat. I did pass some runners at least.

We saw the sign for 800 meters to go and I told myself I would run the rest of the way. It was 2 laps on the track. Then 400 meters to go (on a hill!!!) and then I saw the finish line. Wow people warned me about that hill before the finish and I’m sure in real life it is small but at that moment it felt never ended. We turned to the final straightaway and ran as hard as we could through the finish line.

Even though it was a miserable run (not as bad as my first marathon), we finished with smiles on our faces and happy to finish together.

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finishline

Final race time was 5:12.

Despite the race conditions, I would run Chicago again. My mom said she likes NYC Marathon better (I still think nothing can compare to that marathon), but Chicago had great organization and crowd support. Water stops were well organized as well, and they had various wet sponge stations and banana stations! Although in the middle miles you are kind of in no-mans land with not many supporters, the same could be said for some miles in the NYC Marathon as well.

This was our first race outside of the tri-state area AND our first marathon besides NYC (which we have done twice).

Yes I was disappointed with my time, but I also know I tried as hard as I could with the conditions that were given to me. Thankfully my mom was with me or I might have walked those last 3 miles. She pushes me in races and in practice, and although she said she didn’t want to run another marathon again, I know she will ;) She did great and had zero issues/pain…she probably could have ran 4:30 or something if she wasn’t with me. I feel bad holding her back because of my hydration issues, and it is something I really need to figure out. Clearly I need more than salt pills and water/Gatorade every mile. I don’t know what the solution is, but I have to figure it out.

Oh we also made “mom” and “daughter” shirts and got lots of comments on the course about it! My mom keeps saying we should write a book about our mother/daughter running adventures lol…new ebook idea perhaps?

daughtershirt

Surprisingly, after the race I was fine, legs-wise. I did stop in the medical tent at the end due to nausea, and they told me I was pretty dehydrated and gave me water + Gatorade. But my legs were fine. I was walking normally and felt no pain. So we went back to the hotel, showered, then went to check out Niketown. We wanted our medals engraved but the line was pretty long. I ordered myself a Chicago Marathon sweatshirt which should be arriving today :) 

We celebrated with an ice cold beer and some PF Changs. The next morning we were up at 5 am yet again to catch our flight back home. My legs were a bit sore for about 2 days but now I am back to normal and ready to get back to running. I usually take the winter off inadvertently because I will lift and stuff instead and am sick of running. But now, I want to keep training and build upon this training cycle so I can get that PR in NYC next fall.

If you read all of that…thanks for reading! I look forward to hearing your thoughts and input…and if you ran Chicago (or any marathon recently) congratulations!! No matter what your time is, we must remember that 26.2 is a tremendous feat and always something to be proud of.

Have a great weekend everyone!

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09-18-2015

5th Avenue Mile 2015 Race Recap

First I want to say…TGIF!! I’m so pumped that it’s the weekend, mainly because I’m (and Dan and my sister) heading to Penn State tomorrow for the Rutgers vs. Penn State game. They have a stripe out planned, but hopefully we have a big enough RU contingent that our red ruins some of their stripes ;)

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It will be cool seeing a much bigger stadium than anything I’ve ever been in…but I just really really hope Rutgers can pull off the win!

Anyway, last Sunday, my mom and I ran in the 5th Avenue Mile. We have ran in 2 other times previously, and it is always one of our favorite races.

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This year was a little different because I got an invite to run in the media/social media mile. It’s a speciality heat with only about 50 people (as opposed to hundreds) and reserved for members of local media and bloggers such as myself. Since it was a small heat, I was really nervous about coming in last place and everyone else being way faster than me lol.

My mom’s wave went off first at 10:40. We ran about 1.5 miles together for her warmup, then I stood around the 1/2 mile marker to wait for her.

5th Avenue Mile is just a straight shot down 5th Ave…20 blocks. It starts on a slight decline, then you have an incline until 1/2 mile, then it flattens out. It’s weird because you can see the finish line from the 1/2 mile point, and it feels so close, yet it is still so far. That’s a tip I have heard time and time again: do not accelerate just because you see the finish, it is still far away!

My mom decided to start off conservatively and pick it up in the last half mile. She regretted that decision because she felt she could have ran faster, but she finihed in 7:53!

Afterwards, I met up with her and then it was my turn to run. She stayed at the 1/2 mile point, then I headed out to do more of a warm-up and strides before my heat at 11:45. 

I didn’t really know what my own strategy was going to be. I figured I’d go out hard and just try to hold on.

I was surprised by my splits for the first half mile: 1:44 and 1:46 (quarters). I was like damn if I keep this up I can finish in 7 minutes! But I finished in 7:38, so as you can see I slowed down a bit in the second half.

I felt like I was just running as fast as I could. I love the fans on the sides cheering and one guy yelled, “Great form!!! You have great running form!” I was like oh, ok! :)

The cool thing too about the media mile was that I had the whole road to run on. When you’re in the age group heats it is very crowded and you’re running around people. For me, I was running alone the whole way. The faster group had left me, and the other group behind me was about 10-15 seconds behind me, so I was smack dab in the middle. 

I tried to throw in some “surges” to speed up when I could but I was basically just already going as fast as I can. I mean, can you tell the pain by my face here?

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The photographers captured some great ones of me and my mom, now deciding which ones to order. I have yet to order a cool action shot of me running, but would like one where I don’t look like I hate running lol.

Oh lastly, another cool thing was that they announced my name as I crossed the finish! 

Once we crossed, we were told we could go to the VIP tent, and guess who was there? Meb!

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I said him, “I just tried to run as fast as you!” and he laughed and said hey, you did good, and fist bumped me! :-)

Afterwards, we went for a run while we waited for the elite races to go off. I mainly wanted to see the women’s race, especially Jenny Simpson! We went up to the start to watch the elite men and women warm up. Interesting to note that they are warming up about 45 minutes before race time…meanwhile I warm up like 15 minutes before haha. Here are some pics from the warm-up:

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Treniere Moser

Treniere Moser

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Matt Centrowitz

Matt Centrowitz

Shannon Rowbury

Shannon Rowbury

Jenny Simpson ended up winning, and this is the second athlete and first female in event history to win 4 5th Avenue Miles. Pretty cool!

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Also, did you see the oldest man to finish the race? He’s 96 and finished in about 21 minutes. Such an inspiration!

This is one of my favorite races of the year…if you haven’t ran it OR have never ran a 1 mile race, I highly recommend it. It’s tough, but over in a flash. A fun race day all around.

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Have you ever ran a 1 mile race? Which one?

Football talk: do you have a favorite college football team? What’s your alma mater?

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08-07-2015

That Time I Ran 10 Miles Before a 5K

This is the longest I have ran before running a race.

Last night, my mom and I ran the NYC Runs 5K in Central Park. Since we were heading into the city, we decided to go earlier and try to run 10-11 miles before hand in order to get our long run done with for the week. I’m all about running long on a weekday and prefer that over a weekend long run. 

We got to NYC and parked near where the finish line was going to be. Due to traffic, we only had time to run 10 miles beforehand. 

We ran one 5 mile loop in Central Park, then headed out towards the East River to continue running. Cat Hill killed me and I just wanted a flat portion for a bit haha.

Dehydration

So I think I must have been dehydrated yesterday because I was SO THIRSTY…even beginning at mile 1. I did drink water that day leading up to my run but clearly not enough. Any time I saw a water fountain in the park I would stop and drink huge gulps of water…I just could not quench my thirst.

I did bring my salt pills so I made sure to take those every 30 minutes, and that probably helped me avoid that sloshy feeling in my stomach that caused me to throw up at the finish line of the 2011 NYC Marathon. Yup. Fun times.

I refilled my own water bottle countless times and that feeling of thirst just never went away. I am getting thirsty just writing this now lol.

The 5K

We finished the 10 miles in the park and thankfully our friend picked up our bibs for us because we got to the starting line at 6:50. The race started and I thought, “Ok I’ll go a bit faster, and push it a bit.” And I did for the first mile: 9:40. I was like oh wow! But then I just couldn’t hold on.

The last 2 miles were in the 11′s and I walked up half of Cat Hill. My legs were just fatigued and I was still so thirsty. I stopped at both water stops and drank 2 full cups each time. Oh yeah and as I am off to the side picking up a water cup, some woman comes running in, yells “COME ON, MOVE” and pushes me in the back and grabs her water. Really???

We finished in about 35 minutes – I’ll take it. I was going to stop when my own watch beeped at 13 miles (because we ran more like 10.1 or 10.2 before the race), but then my watch beeped and I saw the 3 mile marker and was like No, I will finish this and finish it strong!

We ran a total of 13.2 miles…and I was so thankful for those popsicles they handed out after!!

 

A photo posted by pattyrivas13 (@pattyrivas13) on


Overall it was a fun race. I love evening races and definitely prefer them to early morning races, especially NYRR ones where I have to trek into the city.

We walked the 5-6 blocks back to the parking deck and I was thankful I brought a change of clothes – my shirt was soaked!

Now I have to run a 5 mile recovery run today which I’m not looking forward to…my legs are still so sore. But gotta do what you gotta do I suppose (when it comes to marathon training).

Did anyone else run this race last night? What’d you think?

Answers to feeling so thirsty on runs? Was I dehydrated?

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06-15-2015

Chicago Marathon Training Week 1 + Oakley Mini 10K Race Recap

And just like that, week 1 of marathon training is in the books! I had a good week and ran almost 23 miles total, which is the highest I’ve done in months. So far, no shin pain at all (knock on wood), which is great. I have been massaging them daily, and although they are sore after hard runs, I am not feeling pain while walking or going up and down stairs…yet…*crossing fingers*

Okay let’s jump into it:

Monday: 3 mile treadmill run + strength. I haven’t done strength in forever and I was already sore before I even left the gym. All from using a 15 lb. kettlebell. So crazy how your body loses strength so fast. I used to be able to squat close to 100 lbs. and now get sore after using 15 lbs. 

Tuesday: 4 mile treadmill run + arms. I was with my sister and she wanted to lift so we did a little arms circuit and some abs.

Wednesday: NJ Summer XC Series 5K. You can read more about this race in my other recaps. This was the third time I ran it and it was pretty bad. I did a 1.5 mile warm up, ran the 5K, then a .25 mile cooldown because I just couldn’t move my legs anymore. They felt like lead throughout and I had to stop and walk a few times. To put it in perspective, race 1 was in 30:50, race 2 was in 30:13, this one was in 33:20.

 

A photo posted by pattyrivas13 (@pattyrivas13) on

Yikes. I also know that part of it was just that my body was tired. I ran a 4 mile race on Sunday, and then Monday and Tuesday (see above) were workouts and/or lifting sessions.

Thursday: OFF

Friday: easy 3 miles. Just a shakeout run before the 10K on Satuday

Saturday: Oakley Mini 10K. Half mile warmup, 10K, 1 mile cooldown. 7.7 total miles

TOTAL MILES: ~23 miles

Oakley Mini 10K Recap

The Oakley Mini 10K is a great, all-women’s race. This is my second year running it with my mom, and I just love the atmosphere and everyone who comes out to cheer. It was a hot and humid day, and all week I was honestly dreading this race.

A few days before I even relegated myself to thinking I’d just walk most of it. I know, such negative thinking. But humidity kills my runs. I have exercised induced asthma so it just makes it harder to breathe. Luckily, I got my inhaler prescription refilled (it’s been a few months since I’ve used one), and it helped  A LOT!

I started off super easy, around 10:45-10:50 pace and just thought, once I get over the 2 huge hills in the first 5K, I’ll pick it up. Both of those hills in the beginning are 400 meters long! My hill training has paid off because once I crested the hill I was able to speed up on the flat portion/downhill.

After the hills, I started taking water breaks at each station (so from miles 3-5). I would speed up when I saw the sign for water up ahead, quickly drink it while walking, then pick it up back before settling into a pace again. At mile 6, my mom said we should do 1 minute pickups with 1 minute jog for recovery. Usually this helps us run a bit of a faster pace, so we did it.

Once I got to mile 5, I knew I was on pace for a PR and knew I had to keep it up. I was pretty excited as I got to mile 6 and knew I would PR. I felt surprisingly good despite the heat and humidity. Even my sister was like, “wow you actually didn’t look like you were going to die this time around.” I think this photo of my mom and me at the finish captures it :-P

 

  A photo posted by pattyrivas13 (@pattyrivas13) on

I’ve ran 1:03 in a long run before for 10K but I don’t count that. 1:07 is my new 10K race PR! I know it’s nothing crazy and ultimately I’d love to be closer to 1 hour if not less, but after the last 2 races in Central Park where I felt totally defeated, this was a great race.

I’m really excited to continue training for the Chicago Marathon with Coach Marc, and I’ve been feeling great the past few weeks. It’s a lot different when you come into marathon training with base miles behind you (duh). The past few times I’ve started marathon or half marathon training, I’ve come into with zero base miles. 

Next up is the Achilles 5 Miler, once again in Central Park…need to do those 9 NYRR Races to qualify for the 2016 NYC Marathon!

Who else is running Chicago Marathon? Or a big fall race?

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05-25-2015

NJ 5K XC Series Race 2 Recap

Last week I ran the second race in the NJ 5K Summer XC Series with my mom. This 5K series is every Wednesday evening and is only 10 bucks! It’s a low-key event with plenty of food and refreshments post-race for runners. 

I ran the first race in 30:53. I had no expectations since it is on a trail/XC course and the hills are crazy (see hill profile in my previous recap). My goal for the second race was to just do better than the first time.

I actually ran watchless this time around. Not by choice though…I only had 1 GB left on my cell data plan (and 2 weeks left before the new month rolled over) so I couldn’t use RunKeeper, and I didn’t have my watch on me. Oops. So my strategy was to just go out easy and speed up. 

Truth.

Truth.

I think I ran the first half pretty well because by the second loop (it’s a 2 loop course) I still felt great. As opposed to last time when my pace dropped from 9:43 to 10:45…yikes.

My mom was actually doing really well but twisted her ankle and fell on the second loop. She was a bit cut up but got back up and kept running to finish the race! She’s fine – she took a few days off to ice and rest.

I felt like I probably could have ran a bit faster this time around but I was cautious in the first half so I didn’t feel awful on the second loop. A thin, one track dirt/grassy trail is tough to run on! My calves were sore (again) the day after, but I’m really liking running on new terrain.

I finished this race in 30:13 – 40 seconds faster! I think as the races go on I will get more used to running on uneven terrain. Right now there is a portion where I slow down because I’m really nervous about twisting my ankle or stepping in a hole I don’t see. My goal for the next race will just be sub-30!

It’s so funny how much of a time difference terrain can make. I am seriously impressed by the high school XC runners who run like, 18 minute 5ks here like it ain’t no thang. Yes I just used that phrase.

I won’t be running it this upcoming week because my mom and I are running our first NYRR race of the year on Saturday (and shooting for a 10K PR), but I’ll be back the following week.

 

A photo posted by pattyrivas13 (@pattyrivas13) on


Anyway, trail runners, what tips do you have for a newbie trail runner?? How do you get over your fear of twisting your ankle? 

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05-07-2015

NJ 5K XC Series Race 1 Recap

Last night I ran my first 5K that is part of the NJ 5K XC Series. I discovered this group last summer on their last race of the year (of course) and have been so excited for it to start back up this spring/summer.

The NJ Trail Series group organizes a 5K every Wednesday evening at Central Park in Morris Plains, NJ. The best part is that it’s only $10, or if you pay for the full series ($75) it comes out to like, $4 a race!

Your $10 includes chip timing and food and refreshments at the end. Yesterday they had pretzels, brownies, chips, juice packs, beer and more.

They actually used some high-tech timing that I have yet to see at other races. They placed a velcro chip around your ankle (like an ankle monitor) which you gave back at the end. I personally liked it better than having to pin something on my shirt and take it off at the end to return it to them for the next race. I’m lazy, I know.

The course is actually a cross country course. The local high school XC team has meets at this park, and big meets (sectionals, counties, etc.) are held here as well. 

My dad ran the race with me, and my mom and aunt (who is visiting from Argentina) came to watch and cheer us on. I love that my dad came to run a 5K with me on his birthday! 

NJ 5K XC Series
The race itself wasn’t anything great for me, time-wise. But I knew that going in. First of all, it’s a XC course, meaning it’s all grass, gravel or dirt. Second of all, I took about 2 weeks off because I was sick before the half marathon I was supposed to run, so I wasn’t in 100% shape. But it was still awesome!!

I don’t know why, but I was so nervous driving to the race and lining up…like butterflies in my stomach. I thought to myself, “Why am I so nervous for this fun run 5K race where I know I’m not even going to PR??”

The race starts in this grassy field then goes out to a dirt, grass and gravel path where we did 2 loops. There are about 3 hills, the first one is really short but steep, the second is longer but not super steep, and the third goes straight up. I swear it felt like I was running at a 90 degree angle. It’s only a few feet long but I had to stop and walk once I got to the top. 

I mean, check out this elevation profile:

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I also like that the updated RunKeeper shows you how many steps you take per minute…very handy! I run around 175-180 steps apparently.

Anyway, I struggled a bit on the second loop but told myself once my RunKeeper told me I had a mile to go I would try to push it. My splits were 9:43, 10:48, 10:15. Like I said, that second mile was tough.

I finished in about 30 minutes and my dad finished in 27:XX minutes. Despite my time, I felt great afterwards. Just happy to be there and happy to be running. I was definitely feeling that runner’s high! I’m really excited to keep running every Wednesday with this group, and perhaps I’ll make some new runner friends! It will be a great way to get in a workout once a week as well, especially on trails.

If you live in New Jersey, I highly suggest you come to a race! Everyone is really nice and welcoming and it is not a competitive atmosphere at all.

Have you run a 5K series or something similar before?

Would you prefer an ankle monitor type thing for racing or good ol’ bibs?

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12-08-2014

The Big Chill 2014 Race Recap

You can find my previous recap of The Big Chill here

The last time I ran this race was in 2012!  I do love this race because it is for such a great cause. Race registration is one unwrapped today for a child in need. Many people bring more than one toy to donate, and they display all the toys on a stage in the Rutgers gym. Seeing all those toys is amazing!

I got to the race on time for once and actually had time for a 10 minute warm up. I ran some stairs in the student center, then went out for a run and finished with some dynamic drills + strides. I had no idea what to expect for this race because I had only run about 4 times since the Philly Half.

At 8:45 I went to line up, and then found out that everyone who had not registered online (I did in-person the day before) would be sent all the way to the back. When there are about 8,000 runners, all the way to the back really is the back. That sucked but I tried to inch my way along to the front before the gun went off. Here’s someone else’s photo of what the start looked like:

 

A photo posted by isapr594 (@isapr594) on

And here’s a picture of the starting line from 2012:

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Once we started it was stop and go for about a block because people would slow down or we’d all be bunched up. It was a bit frustrating but I figured it’s good to hold myself back and not go out too fast. Well, I did end up going out too fast anyway ;)

The course has some inclines but nothing crazy. I went through the first mile in 8:35 and was like okay, either I can maintain this or I’m going to slow waaaayy down. The second one happened lol. Second mile was about 9:30, third mile was about 10:30, final time was 28:21.

I don’t mind the slowing down though. I knew I wasn’t going to PR so I wanted to go out as fast as I could and see what happens. I felt fine throughout the race, my legs just felt out of shape, so I had to slow down. The finish is on an incline but people are lining the roads and cheering you on so you have the energy to really give it all you got.

This is a picture my mom took of me running to the finish (she didn’t run this one).

 

A photo posted by pattyrivas13 (@pattyrivas13) on


I felt much better than when I ran in 2012. 2012 was a way faster time but I remember feeling miserable. This time I ran slower, but felt great (obviously tired, but great) throughout and was happy to be running among so many other runners. 

After the race, they have a ton of food inside the gym where the toys are set up. My mom and I always stay for a bit after to eat and hear the awards. My dad wanted to run but he had some knee pain…his age group winner (40-49) ran 19:47!! He’s like “I have a lot of work to do!” 

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The next 2 weeks I will get back to running consistently so hopefully I can get either a PR or a season’s best at my last 5K on Dec. 20. PS – Aren’t those santa socks awesome? 3 bucks at Marshall’s. Downside? During the 5K they got a hole in the big toe somehow.

Did you run a 5K this weekend? Or are you done for 2014? What races are on tap for 2015?

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11-24-2014

Philadelphia Half Marathon Race Recap

Feeling pretty bummed out today. Not only did I not PR, but I ran my slowest time for a half marathon. But not all races can be PRs and the best race ever right?

This one might be long, but here are the bullet points in case you don’t want to read ;)

  • Finished in 2:12. 3 minutes slower than my PR.
  • Felt great until around mile 7. My legs just started feeling heavy. Put in my headphones (First time I’ve ran a half with music).
  • Lots of weaving and sudden stopping due to narrow roads.
  • Feeling bad that I held my mom back and she probably could have PRed but decided to stay with me.
  • I probably wouldn’t run this race again due to how packed it was the entire 13.1 miles.

Alright, let’s get into the details.

The race started at 7am, which meant we had to be up at 4:45 to leave the hotel by 5:15. We stayed on the NJ side, about 15 minutes out. I didn’t get much sleep because my dad snores so much, but I knew that wouldn’t affect me much since the sleep you get the week leading up to it is the most important. So we got up at 4:45, got dressed, ate our oatmeal and drank our coffee, and were ready to go!

 

A photo posted by pattyrivas13 (@pattyrivas13) on

We got to the start area around 5:45, and went to the lines for the port-a-johns. This is one of my few complaints I have about this race. There were a lot of them, but signs said to form one line in front of each one. This meant there was a HUGE line of people waiting, and it wasn’t moving. I like how NYRR has just a few lines that go to multiple port-a-johns, so that if some are faster than others, you have a few options, as opposed to waiting for just one. This just really annoyed me.

We waited in that line from around 6:10 until 7:00 when the race started. The gun went off and we were still in the line. As we finished though, we saw our corral color was running by, so we just hopped in (we were in the line for corrals ahead of ours). The timing was fine, but I think there could be a better system for that.

Anyway, we crossed the finish and of course as I cross my Garmin screen goes back to the main screen as opposed to the timer screen. So I had to reconnect to GPS etc. once I started running, so I figured it would be a minute off the whole way. Who wants to do math while they’re running 13.1 miles?! :) I think I might have gone out too fast, because around mile 3 I was like “Hmm…did I go out to fast?” So yeah I probably did haha. But I really did feel fine until mile 7. I actually ran a 10K PR on the course! 1:01.

I don’t know my splits or anything since my watch was all weird, but the course was decent. There was one long stretch around mile 5-6ish where the road got really narrow and it was hard to run. A lot of people were hopping up on the sidewalks to run. The upside was that on that same road it was like running through a tunnel of people. Since it was narrow, the spectators were right on top of you, which did pump me up when I was starting to feel the fatigue.

Around mile 7ish we hit our first hill. I felt fine going up that one. Around mile 8-9ish, the second hill came in. This one was longer and a bit steeper…and also where I walked for the first time. I ran about halfway and just wanted to take a short 30 second break. My mom was ahead of me but stayed back and I told her to run ahead. She didn’t want to. So we kept going along.

At mile 11, “Work B*tch” came on, which is my motivational running song, so I thought to myself ok LET’S GO! ONLY 2 MORE MILES! I tried to speed up during the chorus of the song and easy run during the other parts, because my legs had just about had it.

Mile 12 I was done. My PR was way out the window and I honestly had a moment of thinking “What’s the point? I can just run/walk now since I’m going to get my worst time anyway.” I told my mom to just go on without me, that she might be able to get close to our PR time if she went. She said okay.  She left and I thought, no you know what, I WILL run this last mile as fast as I can and finish strong. I picked the 4:15 marathon pace group ahead of me as my target and tried to catch them. Who knows how fast I was actually running at that point haha. I didn’t see a Mile 13 sign so I had no idea how far I had left, but there was a huge crowd and I heard the announcer so I just ran it in as fast as I could. I passed a lot of people in that final stretch which felt good. I finished only 30 seconds behind my mom. I was sure glad that was over with!

 

A photo posted by pattyrivas13 (@pattyrivas13) on

How I’m Feeling

It just really sucks when you train for months for something and feel like you blew it. Last night I was searching for other half marathons coming up to see if I could find one and try again. I did find one in Brooklyn but I’m having a holiday party that day so it just wouldn’t be possible.

I’m running a 1 mile race this weekend, and a 5K on Dec. 6. If I can at least hit a PR for those and end the season on that note, I’ll be more happy.

What frustrates me is that nothing hurt while I was running. My legs just weren’t going anywhere. I don’t know if maybe I didn’t eat enough the day before or morning of? Who knows. I also feel bad that I held my mom back.

What I’ve been telling myself is that although this race didn’t go as planned, I have dropped my 5K time significantly since I started training. I haven’t ran a sub 28 minute 5K in about 3 years, and a few weeks ago I ran 26:46. So I’m getting closer to that PR. A big thanks to Coach Marc for helping me improve on that, and have a great training season!

I’m just feeling bummed. I really wish I could run another half. I also just wasn’t a huge fan of this race due to how packed it was. My knees are pretty sore and I feel like the constant stopping and running around people might have to do with it. Who knows. But I do know that I want my next spring half to be a smaller field. I was originally thinking RnR DC but will probably find a smaller race.

But I’m happy my dad and my mom’s friend’s family (who also ran) were there to watch. It was a fun weekend, and my dad was really excited to post his pictures of him running up the stairs of the museum like Rocky lol.

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The night before we bought this doll thing with a long stick? Not sure exactly what it is but it helped my mom and I spot him as we ran by since who else is holding up something like that.

Philly Half
He always comes to our big races to cheer us on, even if he only sees us for probably a minute total :) Oh and here are the shirts we wore. I had talked about these in a previous post, and some of you wanted to see what the final product would look like. We used double sided velcro as opposed to pins, and we got a lot of compliments!

Philadelphia Half Marathon

So that’s that. I’d love to hear some advice from you.

Have you felt upset after a big race? How did you deal with it? Did you run a “redemption race?”

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11-11-2014

Philly Half Marathon Training Week 14 + 5K Recap

It’s almost here! My training has been going well and last week was probably my “peak week.” I’m looking forward to seeing what I can do in Philly. My PR is 2:08, and if I DO PR I’m not expecting it to be by a lot – but any PR is good! This week is my last week with workouts, and then my running coach has be going in to taper mode…yes!

Here’s last week’s training:

Monday: Off

Tuesday: Easy 4 miler. Ran naked! Without a watch that is ;) Felt good to run by feel and not worry about pace.

Wednesday: Long run – 10 miles. This is our last double digit run before the race. I wanted to throw in some tempo miles, so we did a 3 mile warm up with 5 miles at tempo, then 2 mile cooldown. Tempo pace was average 9:40-9:45. Felt really good!! I was nervous about trying to run around half marathon pace but surprisingly I felt really strong.

 

A photo posted by pattyrivas13 (@pattyrivas13) on

Thursday: Easy 3 mile recovery run. I used to take the day off after a long run (still do sometimes if I have a nagging pain), but after using Hansons Marathon Method, I really liked the idea of doing a recovery run after a long run. Helps you get used to running on tired legs and also does help your muscles recover.

Friday: 6 miles total (track workout). We did this run indoors on the treadmill and it was tough! Not so much physically, but mentally. Time goes by so slow!! We did 8×800 repeats after a 1 mile warm up, then a 1/2 mile cooldown. The 800s were done at “threshold” pace, which was 8:40. 

Saturday: Off

Sunday: 5K race! And season best time! 26:46. I ran this course last month and ran it in 28:35 with 2 walk breaks. No walk breaks this time! I knew going into it that I could probably run around 27 minutes. But I was nervous about this one huge hill in mile 1. No joke it’s a 12% incline – I checked on Map My Run. But I got over it and tried to get my pace back down.

I  missed all of my mile splits because I didn’t look down at my watch on time. I also haven’t figured out yet how to upload from my Garmin to my computer (and I’ve had it over a year now haha).

Mile 1 was probably average 8:10 until the hill. Once I got to the top of the hill I saw my pace dropped to around 10:00. I thought crap. I wanted to stop and walk so bad but I talked myself out of it. My thoughts were, “Shut up. You’re not actually tired. Your brain is just trying to convince you to walk. You’re breathing is good. You’re legs feel great. No shin pain. LET’S GO!” And I sped up.

My pace was continuing to drop according to my watch and by mile 2 I was back down to 8:20-8:30ish pace.  Mile 2.5 – mile 3 is a steady incline. Which is tough after going back down that 12% incline hill. My legs felt like jelly but then Work, Bitch by Britney came on my iPod and that motivated me. So corny I know but I was like YES YOU GOTTA WORK BITCH! I was running next to this girl the whole time and then imagined I was Shalane Flanagan and tried to “surge” ahead of her. I did for a bit but then she caught me and passed me right before the finish. I tried to keep up but my legs were going as fast as they could. Whatever, I still finished 2 min. faster than my last race on the same course, and 1 min. faster than my last 5K!

 

A photo posted by pattyrivas13 (@pattyrivas13) on

I’m feeling really good going into this half marathon, but as I have said a few times, getting a 5K PR is my real goal. I will try one last 5K on December 6 and hopefully drop 1 more minute to get that PR. We’ll see though ;)

It was also my friend’s first 10K. She did great and finished in 1:07. She had told me she thought she would finish close to 2 hours – I was like no way! I almost did the 10K because it’d be good practice for the half, but I really wanted to test my 5K fitness. 

Did you race this weekend? Any upcoming races?

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